Thursday, April 7, 2011

Let's Risk the Ocean

"I believe we are amid a great awakening in the slumbering body of Christ.  I once heard someone call us the Lazarus generation, for we are a generation rising from the apathetic deadness of this world, a church that is awakening from her slumber.  There’s a beautiful verse in which Jesus scolds his listeners for having grown numb and cold, for having forgotten how to laugh and cry and feel.  He says, “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ‘We played the pipe for you and you didn’t not dace; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn’” (Matt 11:16-17).  A new day is dawning.  We are playing the flute and folks from Wall Street to the ghetto are beginning to dance.”

Those prophetic and poetic words are written by an ordinary radical named Shane Claiborne.  Mr. Claiborne has been one of my many spiritual mentors this last year and as I read those words a couple of weeks ago, I specifically remember having to close the book and let the Spirit pour his love out of my eyes and in my heart.  For months I have been praying and begging for this awakening.  I have been on my knees and crying out to the Lord to send His fire upon us, because as I have known and many others for years is that we have missed it as the Church.  We are dead.  But here’s the kicker: I believe that Jesus is far too passionate about His Glory to let us sleep much longer. 
For months as I have talked about this revival, many people have been quick to hush me and tell me to not expect too much, I mean really, we haven’t ever seen anything like that before have we?  At least, not in my lifetime. But just as my friend Kayla told me this last weekend, “Do not put God in a box.”
What I realize about myself is that I can get far ahead of the way things are.  What I mean is that sometimes, since I am a Dreamer, I can get so caught up in what could happen that I miss out on what is happening.  That has been a weakness for me since day one of following Christ but the difference in this prayer for awakening is that it isn’t just for me, it isn’t just to make me feel good, it simply and purely has to happen.  There is no alternative.  For too long has the American Church been asleep, letting people be content with their health and their wealth and their false gospel.  For far too long have we sat back and given out “get-out-of-hell-free-cards” without so much as once mentioning and focusing on Jesus’ words in John 10:10 about living an abundant life now.  Was John the Baptist lying when he said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaving IS AT HAND”?  We have become completely at rest with preaching comfort and acceptance.  The time to stop is now.  We are doing no one any good by sitting around our church pews and commending our rich and American Dream lifestyles. 
On Sunday at the Summit Church in Little Rock, Arkansas God began to answer those prayers.  The 11 o’clock service ended up going to 4 pm as they did not dare quench the Spirit.  The members at that church confessed their sins, people were baptized, and others gave their lives to Jesus.  On Monday night they met to pray for Jesus to continue this and again on Tuesday night and again last night and from what I hear they will meet again tonight.  And all they are doing is simply getting on their faces and begging Jesus to light them on fire so they can therefore go tell everyone about the Real Jesus, the King of Universe, our great Savior.  They are praying for fire because we as the Church must awake because the truth about us hurts: God is not impressed with us.  God is not impressed with our million dollar buildings and our worship services, or our Bible Studies or anything because they produce no fruit.  We have convinced ourselves that that all is enough when in reality we are so caught up and wrapped up in Christianity that we have missed Christ!  We have bypassed the greatest gift in the world, which is knowing and walking with the God of everything.
Last night at Fellowship God once again released His Spirit.  It was incredible to see high school kids on their faces in front of Jesus begging Him to become their everything, kids repenting as they knew without a doubt that they hadn’t been living for His Glory. 
I am honestly blown away by how Jesus is moving.  I am stunned because we have been praying for this for so long, and here it is!  The time is now! 
On Friday there will be a group of students who are meeting outside of Fellowship at 9 pm and all we are going to do is pray for Jesus to set us on fire.  This Revival is alive and is not contained in four walls.  
However what would be easy to do right now is get so lost in Awakening and Revival that we completely miss Jesus.  And the Devil is very cunning and he hates how lives are changing and how the Spirit is taking control and he will stop at nothing to stop this.  The only way this will continue is if each of us, before we get so jazzed and pumped about Revival, get on our faces and beg Jesus for us to all fall in love with Him first.  Because the question is not whether Revival is happening or is going to happen, the question is are we going to let it happen?  And my friends, it’s happening… are we going to let God use us?  Because one of the most wonderful things about our God is that He doesn’t need us but by His great grace, He desperately wants to use us and He is standing in front of each of us and asking us if we want to come along. 
I am not sure about you, but I am sick and tired of living a life that is all going through the motions.  I am ready to breathe and live the Scriptures as the early Church did.  I am ready to see Miracles.  I am ready to not only fall madly in love with Jesus Christ but also see the whole world fall to their knees and profess Him as Lord.
David Crowder issues an amazing challenge to all of us as Christ-followers.  He is speaking of wherever God goes, we will follow and then he says this:

“Don’t be afraid, just set your sail and risk the ocean.  There’s only grace”

That is our challenge, and as for me, I am ready to risk that ocean because if God is for us, who could ever be against us?  If the Holy Spirit of the Living God lives and breathes through us, how could we ever be defeated?  Christ is risen and death is swallowed up in victory.  All glory to God.
Strap tight my brothers and sisters, God is on the move.

1 comment:

  1. I love this. "Oh, church, come stand in the light!"

    I have actually been in tears off and on for weeks, and only realized over this past weekend they have been tears of grief for all the ways we are missing God as we focus on the "trappings" and settle for surface things.

    But God is up to something only He can do in our hearts and lives. I WANT MORE!

    Thank you for allowing God to use you, Chris.

    wendy donley